Chef Michael Solomonov runs the Zahav restaurant in Philadelphia. Chef Michael Solomonov runs the Zahav restaurant in Philadelphia. Chef Michael Solomonov runs the Zahav restaurant in Philadelphia. (Photo: Steve Legato)

The next restaurant from Michael Solomonov is ... in an airport

James Beard Award-winning chef gives new meaning to the word 'airfare.'

Airports are known for lots of things. Long lines, loud talkers, lots of people looking frantically at their watches while weaving briskly through wheelchairs and strollers and frustratingly slow walkers – but good food? Not so much.

If there's anyone who can buck that trend, it's Michael Solomonov. The Israeli-born James Beard Award-winning chef, known for Philly institutions Zahav and Federal Donuts, has just been tapped as head chef at a Centurion Lounge, a 6,300-square-foot restaurant opening at the Philadelphia International Airport exclusively for American Express cardholders.

In addition to being a cookbook author, Chef Michael Solomonov now runs several restaurants.Solomonov also published an award-winning cookbook in 2015. (Photo: Lisa Lake/Getty Images)

In familiar Solomonov fashion, the Centurion menu's going to be "Israeli-inspired" – kebabs, challah French toast, Israeli salad with feta, kale tabbouleh with apples and pomegranate, and malabi pudding, among other items.

We don't know for sure, but judging by the success of Solomonov's famous hummus in many of his other restaurants – Abe Fisher, Dizengoff and Goldie, to name a few – we think the hummus force is strong with this one, too.

Zahav's world famous hummus dish. Zahav's world famous hummus dish. (Photo: Zahav/Facebook)

Centurion Lounges are already located in airports in Dallas, Houston, Las Vegas, New York, Miami, Seattle and San Francisco. This will be Philadelphia's first. An opening date hasn't been announced yet.

The 37-year-old Solomonov was born in Israel and raised in Pittsburgh. He returned to his birthplace at age 19 and attended culinary school. He opened Zahav, considered a favorite among Philly foodies, in 2008. This past year, he won the James Beard Foundation's top award – Outstanding Chef.

In addition to his foray into airport cuisine, Solomonov and business partner Steven Cook published a cookbook in 2015, titled "Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking." The book's contents reflect the most sought-after items on the menu at Zahav, like crispy halloumi with dates and walnuts, beets with tehina, and Yemenite soup.

crispy haloumi cheeseCrispy haloumi is a favorite on the menu at Zahav, a popular Philadelphia restaurant owned by Michael Solomonov. (Photo: Michael Persico)


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